Archive for Thursday, January 22, 2004

Jeannin becomes assists leader

January 22, 2004

Alex Jeannin's basketball career has been hindered by chronic knee injuries. But her proficient ability to handle the ball and find open teammates has assured that it won't be defined by them.

With five assists against Fort Scott on Monday, Jeannin became Basehor-Linwood's career assist leader with 201. She passed Kara Reed, who played for Basehor from 1996 to 2000 and finished with 200 career assists.

Jeannin would surely have broken the record already if not for enduring two knee surgeries earlier in her career and an injury to her other knee this season. Rather than have season-ending surgery this year, Jeannin elected to come back and try to play with a heavy knee brace and limited mobility.

With her game hampered and her team still looking for its first victory, this is not the type of senior season Jeannin had hoped for. But taking her place as the school's best passer ever provides at least a little solace.

"It's kind of neat that I'll somehow be remembered, because I do have a record," Jeannin said. "But it doesn't feel like much with the team struggling. I'd rather win than be remembered."

The fiery competitor in Jeannin has her more concerned with her team's success than her own image, but opposing coaches have noticed her, nonetheless.

"Since we've been playing Basehor she's been a competitor and someone we've had to prepare for, even though she's usually wearing a big knee brace," Bonner Springs coach Garold Baker said.

Fort Scott coach Doug Key said Jeannin had figured into his team's game plan, even though he wasn't aware she was approaching the record.

"I heard her mobility was limited, and we could tell her side-to-side movement wasn't going well," Key said. "But she handled the ball well and delivered it where it needed to be."

"It was obvious that she was the leader of the team and a big catalyst," Key added. "It probably took the wind out of their sails a little bit when she got hurt earlier in the year. I know that's what would happen to us."

Key also said he was impressed with the way Jeannin and her backcourt mate, Kelly Schaffer, worked together. The two have played together since sixth grade, so perhaps it was fitting that Jeannin's record-breaking assist came when she threaded an inbounds pass to Schaffer, who hit a long three from the left wing.

"I know when she's going to push it up the floor, when she's going to drive and kick it out," Schaffer said of Jeannin. "She's always been a great point guard. She knows when to pass, and she picks me out when I'm open."

Jeannin was quick to return the praise to Schaffer, who, as a spot-up shooter, complements her drive-and-dish game perfectly.

"I always try to push to her side in transition. She's good at filling in behind me when I drive," Jeannin said.

Reed was able to hold the assists record for just four years, and Jeannin said she didn't think she'd have it much longer than that either.

But she's hoping it will at least stay in the family.

Her sisters, Ashley and Amber, are currently in seventh and eighth grade and are preparing to take the floor as Lady Bobcats soon.

"They've been playing competitively since fifth grade," Jeannin said. "I'm sure one, if not both of them, will break the record. I hope they do."

Just like any consummate point guard, Jeannin's already looking to pass the record off to someone else.

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